Summer Skin Care

Summer is the season to enjoy being outside, but it’s important to modify your skin care routine to accommodate the changing weather and exposure.  UVA/UVB rays are harmful all year long but are especially damaging during the summer months when our exposure levels are higher due to time spent outdoors and warmer temperatures.  Summer can cause oily skin to become oilier and dry skin to become patchy.  As we bring out lighter-weight clothing for the summer, we also need to use lighter-weight skin care products as well.

Here are some tips for adjusting your summer skin care routine:

Face Care

Keeping your face clean from dust and sweat is the first priority.  If you encounter breakouts and pimples, splash your face with water 3-4 times per day.  Don’t forget to exfoliate at least once or twice a week using a scrub that is appropriate for your skin type.  Instead of the thick moisturizing creams that you use in the winter, find one for your skin type that is lighter so your skin can breathe naturally.  There is no need to use a heavy nighttime cream during this season.  If you feel you are sweating under your moisturizer and your makeup is sliding off, it is time to find a different one.

Body Care

While you might not think that your skin can get dry in the summer with all the humidity; the opposite is actually true.  Just like with your face, a light-weight scrub and moisturizing routine are good for the body as well.  Sweating can cause skin pores to open allowing dirt and grime to enter.  Stick with the basics to keep skin well-cared for.

Sunscreen

If nothing else, NEVER forget to put on sunscreen.  While it is important to use sunscreen all year round, it especially vital to use it in the summer as exposure to UV rays is higher and you are often outside for longer periods of time.  Using a minimum SPF of 30 is recommended.  Be sure to apply it 20-30 minutes before you leave the house.  Reapply throughout the day, especially after swimming or excessive sweating.  If you have oily skin, sunscreen is still required however using a gel-based sunscreen might work best for your skin.  Remember to apply sunscreen to all exposed body parts, including your scalp, ears and neck.

Lips and Eyes

Did you know that lips and eyes are the most forgotten areas when it comes to skin care?  They are especially sensitive to the sun’s rays and require special protection in the summer.  Make sure to wear UV-rated sunglasses that protect you from 99-100 percent of both UVA and UVB light.  This includes those labeled as “UV 400,” which blocks all light rays with wavelengths up to 400 nanometers.  While some contact lenses provide UV protection, they don’t cover your whole eye, so you still need sunglasses.  Time spent in the sun can adversely affect your eyes including potentially causing macular degeneration.  Apply lip balm with SPF frequently to prevent your lips from dangerous UV rays.  Nivea makes a great one that has SPF 30 and protection from both UV rays.

Sunburn

What do you do if you have taken all the precautions but still end up with sunburn after a long day at the beach?  Mild sunburn symptoms include skin redness and pain.  After about 4-7 days, skin peeling may occur.  Stay out of the sun until the redness fades, hydrate often with water, sports drinks or juice and keep your home cool with air conditioning or fans.  Home remedies for sunburn include cool compresses and baths, some essential oils and herbs like lavender, certain foods or supplements, and over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers.  Use lotions that contain aloe vera to soothe and moisturize sun-burnt skin.  Applying cooled, fresh brewed tea to sunburned skin using a clean cloth reportedly helps remove heat from the skin and restore the pH balance.  Vitamin E is an antioxidant and helps calm inflammation caused by sunburn.  Applying vitamin E oil to the skin or taking vitamin E supplements can help calm the sunburn.  Cooled tea bags are beneficial to sunburned eyelids.  Petroleum jelly or Aquaphor ointment will help sunburned lips.  Severe sunburn symptoms called sun poisoning may include skin burning and blistering, fluid loss (dehydration), electrolyte imbalance, and infection and should be treated by a physician.

Summer Nutrition

Did you know that what we eat has a lot to do with how we look and feel?  Eating heavy foods can make you feel more sluggish in warmer weather and can cause your skin to be more susceptible to breakouts and oil.  Eating lighter foods, more seasonal fruits and vegetables and avoiding sugary drinks can help you feel and look better.  As usual, make sure you maintain or increase your water intake to at least 8 – 10 glasses a day for optimal hydration in the warm summer months.  If you’re not crazy about drinking plain water, try adding a few slices of cucumber, lemon, or oranges.  Drinking vegetable juices or other natural alternatives can help keep you hydrated as well.

Clothing

Your clothing choices can either benefit you or not in the warmer weather.  Wearing lighter weight fabrics, such as cotton or linen, can be beneficial when spending time outside.  Tight clothing can cause your body to sweat more and can also cause irritations and itchy skin, which can lead to rashes and skin infections.  Make sure to wear looser clothing to avoid this issue.  Also, lighter colors reflect the sun, so you have a slightly lower chance of heat issues than with darker colors that absorb the heat.

Summer is a time to enjoy the outdoors, get more exercise, and enjoy spending time with family and friends.  Taking some simple precautions will allow you to enjoy your time more.  Remember to use proper sunscreen for your skin type, change your moisturizers from heavy to lighter weight, and wear lighter weight clothes to avoid heat related irritations.  The sun is at its peak between the hours of 10:00 am and 3:00 pm, so if you do have to be out during those times, remember to keep yourself covered, reapply sunscreen after swimming or sweating, and wear long sleeves.  Also, sunglasses and lip balms are must use items as well.  You can never be too careful with your skin. 

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